Scott Sellars looking forward to Under 23s season
Scott Sellars is hoping the excitement and positivity surrounding the new dawn at Wolves can also transmit to the Under-23 squad as they kick off their league season against Aston Villa today.
The Under-23s are in early afternoon action against their Midlands rivals at their Bodymoor Heath training ground, in a game being played behind-closed-doors.
Whilst development of players remains the main priority for Sellars – and may have made the leap to the first team ranks in recent years – he has also been mindful of some disappointing results for his team after so many players were upwardly mobile.
After an impressive pre-season, he is feeling positive not only that the individuals will continue to progress but also that the team can also enjoy some better results as well.
“At any football club I have been at, whenever there is a feeling that things are happening that are positive it affects the club massively,” says Sellars.
“I think we saw last year that when the club was put up for sale there was a bit of a lull really.
“That is now different – it is exciting, lots of new players are coming in, and across the board at development level we will also be hoping we can bring in better quality players as well.
“I think these are very exciting times.
“I am going into my third year now, and when I arrived I think firstly it was about developing a style of play that Kenny wanted, that I wanted, and was consistent through the club.
“I think we have got there now, and as that has happened through the age groups the quality of player that has come to me is better.
“And they have a better tactical understanding because they do the same throughout the football club.
“Having looked at pre-season and the players coming through, I am more positive that we will have a lot more positive results this year.”
The Under-23s have shown both their spirit and quality in pre-season so far, losing only one game from a lengthy fixture list.
And that record comes despite again losing many of their more established players to the first team ranks during the early weeks of pre-season.
“We’ve had an interesting pre-season,” says Sellars.
“We lost a lot of players up through to the first team in the first few weeks and so a few younger lads came up to us.
“For our trip to Holland we had three 16-year-olds playing and they responded well.
“Performances have been very good, results have been very good and, above all, the attitude and spirit amongst the lads through some difficult games has been excellent.
:So I have been really pleased with how pre-season has gone, but, as everyone will see, it is the games that really count.”
As ever, decisions will be taken as to when players step up from Under-18 level, and, whether first team Head Coach Walter Zenga is impressed enough by any of Sellars’ squad that they are handed an opportunity at first team level.
That development will remain the priority, as Wolves Academy continues to aim to bring talented players through the system to senior availability.
Several players could also go out on loan before the closure of the transfer window to pick up valuable first team experience to boost their longer term chances of making a breakthrough at Molineux.
“Sometimes with young players you don’t know how they will do at the next level until they get the chance,” says Sellars.
“And that is the same with the first team.
“This year we have had two first year scholars in Morgan Gibbs-White and Dan McKenna who at the moment would be in the starting line-up for the Under-23s they have been that good.
“What we are looking for when they step up is that they can cope – and these two have done more than cope.
“They have thrived on it and showed they want to stay there
“Our job is to decide when is the best time to make that step up and not do it too soon so that it is detrimental to them physically or mentally.
“We are always assessing them and while it is still early days they are coping fine and the older lads are helping them settle.”
Sellars continues: “Our philosophy is always the same – if they are good enough they will step up.
“If they need a loan they will go out and I am sure one or two will go out.
“Someone like Connor Hunte, who has played three years at this level, needs to go out and get some first team football and maybe one or two others as well.
“I have said all along that Under-23 football is a stepping stone to a loan or breaking through here at Wolves.
“We will still look at each individual player and the best way for them to progress.
“Some boys will stay here and play for us and some need to go out and get a loan.”
Another welcome addition to the fixture list has been the entry of the Under-23s into the Checkatrade Trophy where Category One Academies get the chance to take on senior teams from League and League Two.
In their group Wolves face trips to Chesterfield (August 30th) and Crewe (October 4th) before a home game with Accrington Stanley (November 8th).
“As someone working in development football for many years we have been asking for more exposure to real football,” says Sellars.
“It will be tough and the levels are high in Leagues one and Two and the Conference.
“Hopefully we will be able to compete and it will be really positive for them and for us as coaches to see how they can do.”